BENESSE HOUSE, Japan
For over two decades, billionaire businessman Soichiro Fukutake has been transforming Naoshima and its neighbors, a group of tiny fishing islands on the Seto Inland Sea, into a paradise for lovers of modern and contemporary art, who come not only to admire the artwork but to inhabit it, too. Imagine taking off your shoes, as you do at the Chichu Art Museum, and gazing up at Claude Monet’s famous water lilies from within a white Carrara-marble-clad chamber. The immersive nature of the Naoshima experience extends to Benesse House (designed by architect Tadao Ando), which incorporates a small hotel alongside an art museum where guests can enjoy the exhibits, including paintings by Hockney, Pollock and Johns, in the deserted galleries after closing time. Discover Shikoku can organize trips and accommodation in Naoshima.
This tropical, largely open-air contemporary art museum in Minas Gerais houses over 500 otherworldly installations across more than 300 acres of botanical gardens, with works aiming to explore the spatial relationship between art and nature. The highlight, however, is Doug Aitken’s glass and steel Sonic Pavilion – at once an art installation, meditation dome and public/private space. To continue the visual feast, stay at Solar do Carmo, also in Minas Gerais – a charming, sophisticated bed and breakfast filled with the artwork, books and antiques of Anglo-Brazilian owner Marcia Litchfield, who has access to hidden sites and secrets, from the town’s opera house to poet Elizabeth Bishop’s former home.
THE PENINSULA, New York
The Peninsula hotel group has its finger on the pulse of city life worldwide, with exclusive access to a wide variety of art happenings and shows, but its New York property really wows with its major cultural credentials. As part of the hotel’s 30th anniversary this year, it is hosting an exhibition of New York’s most prominent artists from the 1980s, with a collection of original works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, Barbara Kruger and Keith Haring showcased throughout the hotel. And when Frieze comes to town (at the beginning of May), the Peninsula can track down last-minute passes for guests, not to mention offering the services of its illustrious Peninsula Academy and slick concierge, who can even arrange after-hour tours at the Museum of Modern Art and the Frick Collection on a whim.
45 PARK LANE, London
Park-side hotel 45 Park Lane is a cultured and cultural haven, with artworks including Damien Hirsts hanging on the walls and complimentary bikes on which to explore Hyde Park and head to the nearby Serpentine Galleries. There is also an ever-rotating line-up of exhibitions in the hotel lobby – as part of the ‘Emerging Artists’ art series with Ackerman Studios, guests have the chance to see rare single editions from sold-out print runs, as well as purchase one-off pieces. Don’t miss the current show with hot young artist Joe Webb, whose cosmic show ‘Stardust’ is on now until October 29.
ROME CAVALIERI, Italy
Perched high on Monte Mario, the entire Eternal City spreads at your feet at Rome Cavalieri. The hotel is like a vast living museum, with more than 1,000 precious artworks from Andy Warhols to ornate 19th-century antiques and original Nureyev ballet costumes. There’s even a Tiepolo-inspired tea, where you can savor rare Budda Ama-Cha, an exotic tea from Japan, beneath the hotel’s triptych masterpiece. Its status in the city is such is that the concierges have the Midas touch – one call and they’ll arrange individual Sistine Chapel viewings.
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